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Antique Safes/value of older safe?


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WE bought a house that had this safe in the basement.  It is pretty heavy.  Dimensions 23 deep, 21 1/2 wide and 40 1/2 inches tall on 4 wheels.  It has two full shelves and a drawer and small locking compartment.  It is open but I do not have the combination.  The dial says sargent and greenleaf.
I am wondering if it can be reset and what it would cost to do so and am also interested in the approximate value if I decide to sell it.
Thank you
I have more images- should I send them in an additional query?

Hi Anne,

I received all 8 of your photos.   The safe appears to be from "The General Fireproofing Company", Youngstown, OH.   This company was in business from 1902 until 1989, though they only manufactured a small line of safes from about 1912 until 1940ish.    One of the reasons they quit making safes was because the fire resistive insulation media they were using contained asbestos.
Safes generally used the logos  "G.F. Safes" or "All Steel Safes".    Their branch sales offices were in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Cleveland and Washington DC.

Your safe appears to be of the type made during the later years (1930's), so it is NOT currently an antique safe (over 100 years old).

Basic values:
Fire Resistive:     $0     Is not rated, and does not meet any current standards.
Burglary:          $0     This is NOT a burglary resistive safe.
Resale:          $0     Has no commercial or retail value.   Should NOT be used for overnight storage of cash, jewelry or any valuable documents.
Antique:          $0     Not over 100 years old
Collectible:        $250 to $400     Though not generally considered "collectible", this container is small enough to offer some appeal to someone interested in the safe.    This type of container is usually considered as "old office equipment", with no collectible value.

Problem areas:
1.  Possibility of asbestos.    I would recommend that you check with your local or state HAZMAT agency to determine what your responsibilities for the container might be.   As Asbestos is considered a HAZMAT type material, transfer, sales or disposal of the container may have restrictions.   Failure to abide by the restrictions or follow the "rules" could result in extremely stiff fines or penalties.    I would recommend that you have the insulation material tested to determine if your container has any asbestos at all.   If you don't have a local testing agency, you can obtain a "home test kit" to have it evaluated.
Use caution when collecting your samples and seal up any necessary holes afterwards to seal the insulation material inside the safe.

You can find "Asbestos Home Test kits" at places like Home Depot, Lowes, CVS Pharmacies, or by going online to:

2.  Missing Handle - unfortunately replacements are not available, so I would recommend having something made that looks nice on the safe.   If it is appealing, it will make interest in the safe easier.

3.  Incorrect lock, dial & dial ring.   At some point, someone has replaced the lock.   Combination was possibly lost requiring a local locksmith to drill the container.   After it was repaired they installed a new lock to make it operational.
As your container is not an antique, this isn't a "big negative", and doesn't adversely affect its value.   Don't worry about it.

4.  Unknown combination - this is an easy one to fix.   Simply have a safe technician from a local safe company (not a locksmith), schedule a service call.   Have them service the bolt work and lock, and either recover or reset a new combination for you.    Having an operational safe WITH a working combination is always a plus.

Bottom line if you are trying to sell your safe - GET THE ASBESTOS thing checked out!    If a potential customer contacts me about buying your safe, I'm going to give them the same info, and recommend that they NOT buy or consider the safe until it has been checked out.

Hope this helps.

Antique Safes

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 44 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of an Ely Norris Cannonball Safe from the early 1900's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.


44 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Owner and Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes". Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf

Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association

The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes

Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2015 Listed in AllExperts top 50 Experts. All Experts Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

Past/Present Clients
US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service area is Northern California - Fresno to Oregon, including western Nevada

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